Glynn County’s Board of Elections heard an update Tuesday on an ongoing project to scan voter registration records into a digital database.
The elections office started the work in January after the Glynn County Commission agreed to fund the project for a year. Office workers assign barcodes to each voter’s records and then scan them into the database.
So far, board staff members have scanned around 27 percent of all records into the digital database, said Elections and Registration Supervisor Chris Channell. They’re a little further ahead on the other end, he said, with around 40 to 44 percent of records assigned a barcode.
For comparison, he said they’re about 41.6 percent of the way through the year. Once the scanners catch up with the barcoded records, that gap should start closing, Channell said.
Currently, the board is aiming to get as close to half-way done by the time qualifications begin on Aug. 19 for the city of Brunswick’s municipal elections, he said.
In other business, board Chairwoman Patricia Gibson brought up an ongoing U.S. District Court case over whether the state’s current voting machines, set to be replaced prior to the 2020 presidential primary, should be used in municipal elections this November.
The Georgia General Assembly overhauled the state’s election laws earlier this year. As part of the overhaul, all voting machines must now have both touchscreen and paper components. By comparison, current voting machines only have a touchscreen, with votes stored in a digital format.
The state will provide new voting machines to local boards of elections sometime prior to the next presidential primary, but not in time for the municipal elections in November. Some localities were selected to give the new machines a test run in November, but Glynn County was not one of those.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege the touchscreen voting machines that have been in use statewide since the early 2000s are not secure and that local boards of elections should be required to issue paper ballots in lieu of the new voting machines.
“There is a possibility we could be ordered to do paper ballots for the city elections in November,” Gibson said.
A ruling in the plaintiffs’ favor would impact the board’s budget, Channell said, but not its ability to administer the election.
“We would just fire up the Ballotar and print off our ballots,” Channell said.
The board also talked about filling its vacant assistant elections and registration supervisor position. The former assistant, Channell, took the supervisor job late last month.
So far, 21 people have applied for the assistant supervisor job, which he narrowed down to four. Assuming he didn’t receive any good applications on Tuesday, he said he’d hire one of the four.
Ideally, the finalist would start before the board’s next meeting on July 9.
Board members also talked about moving to the county’s new financial reporting software and a campaign to educate the public on whichever voting machine the state selects.